Dove with Branch
June 18, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I have provided a good home for my children. They have all of the things their friends have. We always support them and attend their activities. They lack appreciation for all that we do. When they want something they won't take no for an answer. They even scream at us and call us dreadful names. Why is this happening? - Barbara in Plainview

Dear Barbara, Because you let it happen. You are your child's teacher. They have learned how they can and should act from the lessons that you have taught them. They act the way they do because that kind of behavior works for them. If you want them to be different you must teach them new lessons. It will be more difficult now because they must unlearn the old lessons. It is important for your children to learn to make choices that are in their own long term interest, rather than whatever works at the moment. They need to learn new strategies for dealing with life. And they need to learn them from you. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My daughter always has the best clothes and is the best groomed at school. She is a model for other students to follow. She is the fashion leader in her school. The problem is that she doesn't seem to appreciate what I do for her. She doesn't keep her clothes clean and she will engage in play that leaves her dirty. How can I get her to respect what I do for her? - Amanda in Georgia

Dear Amanda, The first question you should ask yourself is, "who are you doing this for?" You want your daughter to be a certain way and set an example that she may not care to do. Supporting her to do her thing is helpful but pushing her to do your thing can cause a lot of problems for both of you. I suggest you talk with her and find out what she wants to do and be. Support her in what she wants. We have learned that molding a child to our wishes is not always good for the child. Give her a chance to become her own person - and love her for it. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

Two of the world's most irrational arguments: (1) We can't afford to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions because it would be too costly and reduce our quality of life. If we don't reduce our greenhouse emissions it will reduce our quality of life! This is a little bit like saying we can't afford to raise chickens because there is too big a demand for eggs. If we want to preserve our quality of life then the changes must be made.

(2) We can't afford to stop building weapons of war because we would have to close the factories and people would be out of work. This is like saying we can't stop killing each other because then we would have nothing else to do. The only justification I can see for this argument is that since we are killing each other if we get good at it then perhaps our group will prevail and many of us will survive. When we take this view the world is condemned to continued warfare and killing.

We recognize that war and global warming are threats to our existence. When we make choices that assure that they will continue we are being irrational. When we want something to change we must make choices that create the change instead of choices that prevent the change. These irrational arguments are being made at the highest level of our government. It is my hope that we as a society will recognize their irrationality and lead our government toward more rational choices.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Unfortunately, we often relate to each other as if we are to be constantly judged. We think it is important to decide who is wrong and who is right. We think we need to be right. And if we are wrong, then we think we should suffer and be punished somehow. If there is guilt, then we think there must be blame. We try to control someone else's behavior by placing blame upon them. Most of the time, we don't even realize that we are doing this. But if we are practicing guilt and blame, we see the other person as threatening us, so we attack them. Because of their insecurities many people can be controlled by the power you create by placing blame. You may gain control, but do not expect a positive relationship to result unless you can actually find someone who enjoys other people having the power.

Blaming always leaves us with resentment and other negative feelings. Only by not placing blame can we be in control of our own fate. Unfortunately our legal system has adopted the concept of negligence, which is simply placing blame for mistakes. We buy into this concept of blaming others for all of the bad things that happen to us. We have learned to believe we should be compensated any time a bad thing happens to us because that is our society's way of thinking. When we do this we inadvertently accept victim-hood and incorporate it into our belief system.

By learning not to judge others, we learn to accept ourselves. As long as we condemn others for their mistakes, we will not be able to fully accept our own. We will be angry with ourselves because we are not living up to our own judgment of how we should be.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how you judge other people.

Tuesday: Think about how you blame other people for their mistakes.

Wednesday: Think about how you use blame to control other people's actions.

Thursday: Think about how you feel when others blame you.

Friday: Resolve to accept the different opinions of others as appropriate for them.

Saturday: Resolve not to blame others for honest mistakes.

Sunday: Resolve to accept other people as they are without judgment.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

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